Hot off the heels of an unforgettable night at Old Trafford, Premier league chasers Middlesbrough FC played host to bottom of the table Rotherham United on a cold night at the Riverside Stadium.
The game proved to be an intense affair between the two teams with all three points proving vital to both teams as Middlesbrough were hoping to make it three wins in a row in the Championship and strengthen to their bid for promotion into the Premiership.
On the other side regulation threaten Rotherham United needed everything they could get from their visit to Teesside. However, it was not meant to be for the visitors as the Smoggies took all three points to stay in the top four of the Championship after a first half goal from Stewart Downing.
It was a game that Middlesbrough dominated with 57% possession as they created more chances at goal. However, the game remained closer than the statistics would have suggested as Rotherham United tried their best efforts to create chances at the end.
With four shots on target between the two teams it was the one Downing buried past Lee Camp after he intercepted a loose pass near the halfway line that made the difference in the 16th minute.
Downing’s goal should have been followed by a second moments later after Carlos de Pena hit the bar with a header from a David Nugent cross. Rotherham’s best efforts came from Jordan Bowery who hit his shot wide thus giving Boro all three points.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka said: “It is a tough game but we missed chances to score the second, the third, the fourth.
“But we have to learn from this game, when everybody was expecting the second goal we played worst.”
The game marked the 400th league appearance of Downing’s career – and his third goal of the season – allowing Boro to continue their chase for promotion.